Americans Think Marijuana Less Harmful Than Tobacco and Alcohol, Poll Says

By Shawn Dwyer 01/08/14

Attitudes toward marijuana have loosened considerably in the last few years alone.

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According to a new poll conducted by CNN/ORC International, a clear majority now thinks that marijuana should be legal. The survey found that 55 percent of Americans think pot should be legal, while 44 percent believe it should remain illegal. Only one percent had no opinion.

The poll also found that people felt alcohol and tobacco were far more dangerous for people to use than marijuana, with a whopping 73 percent saying booze was more harmful and 64 percent saying tobacco was more dangerous. "The logical conclusion: Many Americans believe that if more dangerous substances like alcohol and tobacco are legal, marijuana should be, too," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

On the flipside of the poll, Americans still show a deep aversion to harder drugs like cocaine, heroin, and crystal meth. Only four percent supported legalizing cocaine and heroin, while just three percent said meth should be made legal. "Once again, opinions on marijuana seem to represent a halfway point between generally accepted substances like alcohol and widely reviled substances like cocaine and heroin," Holland said.

The poll was conducted January 3-5, 2014 with 1,010 adults contacted by phone nationwide.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.